Ohueje Ohinoyi is an annual cultural festival which holds in the first week of March in Kogi Central Senatorial district (Ebiraland) to honour the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, celebrate culture and promote tourism.
It is a festival where different cultural groups in the district perform to entertain sons and daughters of Ebiraland (Anebira) as well as tourists and guests who come from far and near to savour the event.
Ebiraland which comprises five LGAs namely, Adavi, Ajaokuta, Okene, Okehi and Ogori-Magongo, is strategically located in the Confluence State of Kogi.
It is a link between Southern and Northern Nigeria as travelers leaving south for north and vice-versa usually pass through the area.
Ebiraland has a common physical feature of dissected hills and rocks enveloping a greater part of the land.
Ohueje Ohinoyi festival is usually a three-day event which holds in Okene, the headquarters of the Ebira Kingdom.
Since the festival came into being in 2017 following pronouncement by the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Ibrahim, it has become a rallying point for Anebira (Ebira people) to discuss and advance the socio-economic interests of the Ebira Kingdom
The 2020 edition which held between March 5 and 7 featured thrilling cultural performances, dances, songs, drama presentation and local wrestling.
Aside performances by various groups, there were exhibitions of Ebira locally made clothes, household appliances and decorative items made from clay, bamboo, cotton and other local materials.
There was also “the food fair” where local Ebira delicacies were showcased.
On the final day of the cultural event, people from across Ebiraland including traditional rulers and prominent personalities went as early as possible to the Ebira Day Ground, venue of the cultural festival.
The atmosphere at the event ground was exhilarating as various cultural troupes entertained people.
At the arrival of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland and his entourage comprising of some other prominent traditional rulers, his family members, palace guards and other personalities, there were rapturous shouts of “Saaaaki”! “Saaaki”!
The Ohinoyi after acknowledging cheers from his subjects moved to his royal stool as various cultural troupes and dancers filed out to pay him homage.
Ebira local fabrics and fashion parade using Ebira fabrics were also showcased.
There was photo exhibition displaying important historical sites, events and personalities in Ebiraland
One aspect of the event which held many guests and spectators spellbound was a local wrestling contest between a heavily built man and not too hefty man, which was eventually won by the latter.
In his remark on the occasion, the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim urged people of the district to keep the rich cultural heritage of the district aglow.
The Royal Father who expressed happiness with progress the cultural event has made over the past four years, urged Ebira sons and daughters to unite for the overall development of the district.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the festival, Tijani Adinoyi, said the cultural event which began four years ago has continued to enjoy more popularity with various interests from public and private sector.
He said this year’s edition of Ohueje Ohinoyi was conceptualized to unveil abundant untapped tourism primed sites and the rich culture of Ebiraland.
According to him, the event gained a national recognition with the presence of the representative of the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture.
He said the representative was taken on a guided tour to some of the primed tourism sites that abound in Ebiraland.
Adinoyi urged all Ebira sons and daughters to be part of the cultural event to move it to greater heights.
Also speaking, Representative of the Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Isa Justice Abdulwahab, congratulated the organisers and the people of Ebiraland for putting up a “colourful and memorable Ohueje Ohinoyi Festival.”
He described the event as “an eye opener on the cultural heritage of the good people of Kogi State.
“There is no doubt that the country as a whole has a lot to harness from Kogi State, ranging from the rich cultural cuisines, cloth weaving industry, cultural display etc.
“It gladens our heart that the mandate of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) which is to coordinate, preserve, promote the living Arts and Culture of Nigeria at National and International fora come into play at this festival.
“I employ all Nigerians irrespective of our ethnic groups to take a cue from the Ohueje Ohinoyi Festival as this kind of events will further strengthen peace and unity in Nigeria,” he said.
Among the dignitaries present were Alhaji Kabiru Wokili, the Wambai of Ebiraland who represented Alhaji Muhammed Sani Omolori, the Ciroma of Ebiraland and Hajia Saratu, Education Secretary, Okene LGA.